Federal watchdog says IRS unfairly targeted nonprofits based on names involving “medical cannabis”


A report from a federal watchdog group identified 146 cases in which the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scrutinized liberal groups affiliated with terms like medical marijuana, green energy, progressive and occupy.

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) reviewed cases between May 2010 and May 2012, and also examined a 2013 report which claimed the IRS used political reasons for scrutinizing select groups.

The watchdog identified 146 cases where the IRS examined left-leaning groups under the suspicion of conducting prohibited political activity. Eighty-three of the cases were chosen for scrutiny based on the terms used by these organizations, but the report could not determine how the other 63 cases were chosen.

The Senate Finance Committee said the 2015 report found most of the groups who were scrutinized were Tea Party and conservative groups, but also acknowledged some left-leaning groups involved experienced processing delays and requests for information.

The new report reiterated the inspector general’s earlier claims in which he said the IRS review process was inappropriate in scrutinizing groups based on their names rather than actual evidence of illicit political activity. The report has already been circulated to various lawmakers and committees on Capitol Hill, while the full report will be released to the public on Thursday.